Salutes & Awards

October 2, 2015

Nellis EMT Rodeo Team wins 1st place in Commando Challenge

Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman Caroline Rulison, 99th Aerospace Medical Squadron aerospace medicine technician, low-crawls during the 2015 Annual EMT Rodeo held at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Sept. 17 through 18. After two days of intense scenario run-throughs, the Nellis AFB Emergency Medical Technician Rodeo Team won first place in the Commando Challenge. The Commando Challenge was one of 19 categories of competition.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — After two days of intense scenario run-throughs, the Nellis AFB Emergency Medical Technician Rodeo Team won first place in the Commando Challenge that was a part of the 2015 Annual EMT Rodeo event hosted by Cannon AFB, New Mexico, Sept. 17 through 18.
The Commando Challenge is a scenario-based obstacle course where competitors had to put a multitude of skills to use.
Team Nellis won the Commando Challenge with a perfect score and a time of 8 minutes and 57 seconds.
“Winning first place in the Commando Challenge is awesome,” said Senior Airman Caroline Rulison, 99th Aerospace Medical Squadron aerospace medicine technician. “The Commando Challenge was the main challenge during the combat-skills day. For us, this challenge was the big one — the one that really matters, because this is, ultimately, what we’ve been trained to do.
“Yes, we can wrap a broken arm or take care of a diabetic patient — and all of that is important — but if we can’t save lives down range and if we can’t be counted on to get our injured comrades to safety when situations head south, then we’re not real medics. Of all the challenges, the Commando Challenge was the one that felt most important, so coming in first place feels pretty darn good.”
The EMT Rodeo consisted of 19 categories during which 21 teams from 22 installations across the Air Force were challenged based on their EMT knowledge in simulated medical emergencies.
“The teams were to perform lifesaving maneuvers on patients in timed scenarios, while scoring points on the specific scenario based on how they performed their medical skills,” said Rulison.
The rodeo challenged medical technicians with strict guidelines, demonstration and implementation of accurate techniques all while under the watchful eye of evaluators.
“The EMT rodeo challenged me to reflect back on everything I have learned as a medic and ensured that members were performing scenarios to the correct lifesaving standards we are all taught throughout our careers,” said Senior Airman Mario Perez, 99th Surgical Operations Squadron medical technician. “Watching other members perform medical skills over and over again, I was able to gain knowledge in the way someone else was doing something that might save time or be easier than what I was doing to treat a patient.”
Not only was the competition challenging, it also showcased camaraderie amongst the teams.
“In the scenarios, you have to be able to count on the skills and competency of your team,” said Rulison. “Learning to trust each other and work together felt natural for us because we all get along and have similar mindsets, but the challenges definitely forced us to grow stronger as a team. For the Rodeo as a whole, it was great being able to meet people from all around the world. Because we were all facing the same challenges, we had a shared sense of camaraderie.”
The members of the Nellis EMT Rodeo Team were Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Villalpando, Senior Airman Caroline Rulison, Senior Airman Mario Perez, Senior Airman Aaron Olivares and Airman 1st Class Kevin Manzi.

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